Non Implant Missing Tooth Replacement Options

Dental implants are an excellent tooth-replacement option which are quickly gaining popularity. This article will discuss how bridges and dentures compare to dental implants in addition to the advantages and disadvantages associated with each solution.

Traditional Removable Denture

Traditional dentures sit on top of the gums. While the initial cost for dentures is somewhat low, dentures often last for about 7-15 years before they must be replaced or repaired. Dentures can also be uncomfortable, limit a patient’s diet, result in sores, and slip out of place. They also need to be removed daily for cleaning. Because the jawbone is not stimulated, the bone can begin to resorb and deteriorate. This can negatively impact the patient’s facial structure.


* Low cost and quick turnaround for treatment
* Restore the appearance of missing teeth
* Can be modified and adjusted


* No stimulation of the jaw bone results in bone loss
* Dietary limitations
* Removal each day to clean
* Dentures are secured with an adhesive


A tooth-supported fixed bridge is the most common treatment after dental implants when a patient is missing one tooth. Tooth-supported fixed bridges require some removal of the healthy supporting teeth. These teeth need to be ground down in preparation for supporting and attaching the bridge. This bridge does not stimulate the jawbone, and can allow for bone resorption. Most bridges fail after 5-10 years from decay as they are quite challenging to clean.


* Affordable solution
* Maintained like the natural teeth with brushing and flossing
* Function similar to the natural teeth
* Procedure takes a few weeks to complete


* More expensive than traditional dentures
* Removal of healthy tooth structure
* Risk for decay and infection
* Difficult to clean
* Jaw bone is not stimulated

Removable Partial Dentures

Removable partial dentures do not require removal of the adjacent teeth. However, this solution is not as stabile or comfortable as dental implants. Dentures can limit what the patient can eat and negatively impacting their ability to speak. This solution is affordable, but lacks the ability to appear and function like the natural teeth. Because the jawbone is not stimulated, it can begin to resorb and change the patient’s facial structure.


* Cheaper than implants or fixed bridges
* Can be adjusted and modified
* Procedure is quick and non-invasive


* Unstable and uncomfortable
* Limited function and do not appear like natural teeth
* Removal daily for cleaning
* Adjustments required frequently
* Easily break and frequently lost

Resin-bonded or Maryland Bridge

When a patient is missing one of their front teeth, this solution is often used. The front teeth do not endure the strong forces from biting and chewing. This bridge contains a prosthetic tooth with metal wings on both sides. The wings are then secured with an adhesive. Because an adhesive is used, there is no need to grind down or remove the healthy teeth. This bridge is more natural in its appearance and functions similar to a removable denture. These bridges lack the stability and durability of dental implants.


* No removal of healthy teeth
* Affordable option
* Relatively quick, non-invasive procedure


* High risk for failure
* Adhesive can be problematic
* The prosthetic tooth can be challenging to clean
* Metal wings can be visible and differ from the prosthetic tooth


How Long does a Dental Bridge Last